Annindofu vs. Mizuyokan

I have to confess, not out of guilt, but out of excess. I have watched an excess of Dotchi No Ryori in recent weeks. Every Monday night, unplanned actually, my nephew, mom and I have enjoyed this slightly off-beat program on KIKU TV.

The cast of characters — actors and other celebrities? — keep the show light and fun. But what I really dig about the show is the way they go out to the farms and harbors to the source of the great ingredients that are used for the show's competing dishes. It's awesome, sort of like Soko Go Shiritai in a condensed, particular version.

Tonight's program, pitting annindofu versus mizuyokan, is turning out to be more interesting than I expected. (My favorite previous program was the one featuring curry. That was a slice of heaven.) Annindofu (at left) is known in Hawaii as almond float. But seeing yokan brought back memories of my mom's fixation on the stuff. I can't remember if my brother Kimo ever liked yokan. He still isn't a huge fan of beans. Neither am I, really, but I've always loved anpan, and azuki beans are always part of my shave ice.

For the bean segment of the show, the hosts went to a valley that produces the finest tamba dainagon (azuki) red beans. Within the valley, only 10 farms are able to produce the "diamond" of the red beans: the black saya. It's actually a dark, maroonish red, a beautiful bean.

I want to collect a bunch of red beans and put them on display on my shelf. I think they're more than just food. They are science, art and craftsmanship all in one. Plus, my mom's side of the family 1) is Japanese, and 2) were farmers back in Kula during the olden days.

I don't know what it'll cost or require to collect such rare, expensive beans, but I'll give it a try. For now, it's back to the show.

Epilogue: Almond float won, but I would've liked to have yokan in my annindofu.